Wednesday, January 14, 2015

new year's vegetable garden resolutions

1. More lettuce. I say this every year. I get a good spring crop then get distracted with all the other plants and forget the succession planting. Lettuce and other salad greens are something we eat a lot of.

2. Also more beets, carrot, garlic, onions. And less winter squash.

3. Grow beautiful tomatoes, which means solving the problem I had with bad compost. I'll move them to a bed that didn't get the bad stuff. I hope some of my home compost is ready this spring.

4. Grow bigger onions. I gave some of my seedlings to a friend who is a fantastic gardener and she grew onions 3 times as big as mine - from the same seedlings. OK she's not all organic. But I can do better by giving them more space and not letting other plants shade them. I wonder how much inconsistent irrigation affects onions.

5. Consistent crops of bok choi and broccoli. I did all-or-nothing, feast-or-famine, with these last year. There must be a way to have a few ready all the time.

6. Try again for a good crop of winter greens in a plastic tunnel, i.e. get rid of the voles.

7. I want to find a good vantage point to photograph my garden more and keep up with monthly photos. Sometimes I forget just how beautiful a garden is and how wonderful the summer season was. I just love to look back at the photos in the middle of winter. And I love to share the pictures.

8. Enjoy my garden more this year. I've certainly enjoyed it every year in the past, but I would look forward to the challenge of enjoying it even more!

I'd love to hear other gardeners' New Year's resolutions!


Sarah said...

Onions: plant very shallowly, feed, feed, feed and water to put on as much leaf mass as possible before your daylength reaches the # of hours that your variety requires to bulb. Used organic fertilizer and compost last year and grew HUGE onions. Comically huge.

kathy said...

Comically huge! Wow! I'm going to try that! Thanks

pam_chesbay said...

I think you may enjoy your garden more when the new garden settles in.

When you begin planting "new land" (term used by Virginia farmers), it takes time to get the soil to the point where it meets the needs of your crops. You are not just planting corn or soybeans. You are planting dozens of crops that have different needs re: soil and growing conditions - so the job is more challenging.

I have no doubt that you are up to the challenge!

kathy said...

Thanks Pam. I think you are right. I don't know the right words, but new garden in many ways seems to me plain, empty, unsettled. And I feel like I don't know it very well yet. I don't know what pests to expect or the best locations for different crops. I don't have my own compost and haven't developed a routine for tending the garden. I can't yet compare this year's garden to a previous year.

I think in coming years the soil will greatly improve. The six inches of purchased topsoil and compost will grow microbes that will mix the top with the very poor soil that was under the beds. I will add my rich homemade compost (its the first time I've added chicken manure to my compost!) and I'llturn under green manure crops. Also, the soil will build up a seed bed left by crops I grow: dill, cilantro, arugula, kale, tomatoes... I love to recognize these volunteers in the spring. I'll add perennials that will enlarge and attract pollinators. I'll learn to expect certain pests, I'll learn to recognize the patterns of animals and plants around the garden. I'll build an attractive wood fence and learn what works best for my garden paths. By then I'll "know" my garden. And it will settle in and be full of much more than vegetable crops.

pam_chesbay said...

Yes, that's how a new garden grows - and we grow too. Two years ago, I decided to move my garden closer to the house. I built four 4 x 12' raised beds in first year. Thinking"that wasn't too bad," I increased the growing area by 300% last year. Big mistake!

I didn't get things planted on time. Couldn't keep up with weeds. Deer jumped over an inadequate fence. Tomatoes got blight. Potatoes infested with Colorado beatles.

Tried to do too much at once - new and different crops, unfamiliar growing conditions, cooler than usual summer. Learned important lessons last year. I'm going about it with more thought and patience. ;-)

kathy said...

Yes. Increasing 3x is a lot at once. But now you know some of the problems to expect and you can prioritize what you want to do about them. New fence, tomato spraying, etc. Sounds like you will have a busy (and fun!) year.